Trieu: Michigan chasing one of nation’s best in DT Jay Tufele
Bingham (Utah) South Jordan head coach John Lambourne had an opportunity to coach the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last season and worked with nine of the best defensive linemen in the country. It was seeing that group up close that cemented to Lambourne that he also had one of the nation’s best back at home in then-junior defensive tackle Jay Tufele.
“I looked at those nine guys that I coached and I know Jay fits right in with that whole group. That was an eye-opener,” Lambourne said. “Those nine kids all together was very impressive and to know Jay fit in with all of them was a cool deal.”
Colleges agree with that assessment. The four-star Tufele (6-2, 306 pounds) has 21 offers, including one from Michigan, and he is set for an official visit with the Wolverines this weekend. The Wolverines have a good defensive line class already, but are looking to add more bodies, including an interior guy with this type of talent.
“As a football player, he’s simply a raw talent,” Lambourne says. “This is a big, strong, athletic guy with a knack for playing football in the trenches, the whole works. I don’t think there is anybody across the country better at what he does. He started two seasons for us, this being his third, so he’s still raw in spite of all that but his upside is real.
“He’s been recruited all over the country and all those coaches on the D1 level recognize his upside.”
That type of recognition could easily go to a young man’s head, but not this one.
“He is a humble young kid, a good leader, the kids respond to him real well,” Lambourne said. “I told him, ‘I feel like you have a good command of the English language, but despite that you don’t say much, so you ought to make use of that voice a little bit.’ I think he will.
“He’s a real humble kid who comes from humble circumstances. He has real supportive parents and siblings.”
Michigan has had good luck in Utah in the past with fullback Sione Houma and defensive tackle Bryan Mone. The Wolverines have also increased their emphasis on players of Polynesian descent.
That is just one aspect the Wolverines hope will help them land another player from out West. Lambourne says that despite the distance from Ann Arbor, the Michigan name carries weight, even in Utah.
“Michigan has a tremendous aura. Even if you don’t live around there, you hear it all the time. We hear about Michigan even though we live out here. I haven’t spoken to Jay specifically about Michigan, but I think the whole history of the program (is why he wants to visit). If you’re going to go away from home, Michigan is a good place to go.”
Tufele is also considering Ohio State, USC, Utah and Washington. He plans to make his college choice on National Signing Day.
Wolverines also hosting Husker commit
Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips defensive end Robert Porcher IV, a Nebraska commit, will take an official visit to Michigan this weekend. Porcher, the son of former Lions defensive end Robert Porcher III, was offered by Michigan in the summer but chose Nebraska in late June
The Wolverines used their bye week to stop by the school as assistant coach Chris Partridge came to Dr. Phillips.
"It's my hometown; I've always liked Michigan," Porcher told Scout’s Corey Bender. "They have an awesome program and show me a lot of love.”
He reiterated that, despite the visit, he remains committed to Nebraska.
Four-star junior looking to visit
Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall is a top talent producer on the East Coast and has yet another big-time prospect in their halls with junior offensive tackle Matt Jones.
Jones (6-4, 285 pounds) has offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and many others already. The Buckeyes have two of his former teammates, Curtis Samuel and Jahsen Wint, on their roster, but he remains open to other schools.
Michigan stopped at Erasmus Hall on their bye week and Jones says he will look to visit the Wolverines after his football season is complete.
He has not visited any schools yet this season, choosing to wait until winter to begin doing so.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.